Things To Do at South West Rocks With Kids

South West Rocks, is it a real place on the coast of New South Wales, or a mental space of peace and calm and endless holidays?

Our family only spent three nights at South West Rocks, but we totally understand why others come back here for a week or two year after year after year.

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Tranquility, simplicity, ease.… beautiful beaches, old-fashioned friendliness and service and some history over there at Trial Bay and Smoky Cape.

Find Great Accommodation Deals at South West Rocks

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Yes, the names are as evocative as the memories… and just look at that photo above of Horseshoe Bay on a winter’s day.  Horseshoe Bay is right in the centre of the town, with groovy cafes and a caravan park right alongside it.

How could you not fall in love? Why would you resist?

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South West Rocks Things To Do With Kids

Explore the beaches in town

There’s Horseshoe Bay and alongside it the long sweep of Main Beach, with very climbable rocks scattered around.


There is a playground is on the reserve in town, there are kiosks and cafes there too.

Visit Smoky Cape Lighthouse

One of the most popular South West Rocks attractions is historic Smoky Cape Lighthouse, just a short drive out of town,  Check the NPWS website for guided tours in school holidays.

There are cottages up there which would make a scenic place to stay too.

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It’s a steep old walk up from the car park to the lighthouse.

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But, man, the views are worth it.

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Visit Little Bay

This tiny bay and beach are incredibly pretty. I’m not sure how safe it would be for kids to swim in warmer weather as the waves were surging strongly. Perhaps safer at high tide?

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But Little Cape is a marvellous place to visit, and to chill out, we voted it the prettiest of all the places to visit in South West Rocks.

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And you can see kangaroos too. This mob let us watch them and seemed very relaxed with our clicking cameras.

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Visit Trial Bay Gaol

If you are wondering what to do at South West Rocks and you like history, then beetle straight over to Trial Bay Gaol.

We do love being able to walk through history, and this gaol is well preserved and the historic information is presented well.

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Of course, this is history of the more gory and gruelling kid. Ideal for my kids who love a bit of gruesome.

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Play At Trial Bay Beach

At sunset, because it’s beautiful.

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This part of the bay looks west to where the suns sets, unusual on the east coast of Australia.

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Kid-friendly South West Rocks Cafes

We can recommend the lovely Honey and Malt in South West Rocks itself. We enjoyed our breakfast here a lot.

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And the Full Circle Eatery at Big4 Sunshine where we stayed is fabulous as it has its own enclosed playground, plus a good menu and heaps of space inside too.

Big4 Sunshine South West Rocks cafe
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Did I get a bit carried away with the camera there?

These were the two cafes we loved best when in South West Rocks, I’m sure there are many more and I’d love to add your suggestions into this post.

More Family-Friendly South West Rocks Attractions

  • Fish on the Macleay River break wall
  • Ride your bike along the walkway by the beach, and on the beach itself too
  • Visit the Rocks Skate park
  • Snorkel at Back Creek
  • Boogie board and surf
  • Play golf at South West Rocks golf course – my husband enjoyed his round
  • Dive or snorkel at the famous Fish Rocks off the coast

We really did enjoy our all-too-short stay at South West Rocks. Read about our stay at Big4 Sunshine South West Rocks here.

Find South West Rocks Deals and Specials using Booking.Com here

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Happy travels!

Check out more fabulous family weekends away from Sydney here.

Find all the top playgrounds in Sydney here.

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Check out our favourite family bush walks in Sydney here.

Explore with these kid-friendly days trips in and around Sydney.

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  1. says: Peter Hook

    Hi Seana, you captured the tranquility and almost old-fashioned charm of South West Rocks. Glad you were able to see the sunset over the beach…as you say, quite unusual on the EAST coast of Australia. In fact, apart from islands, I’m wondering which other east coast beaches allow you to watch the sunset? Also, there’s a lovely book that you might be able to get from the library set in South West Rocks during the German internment period of World War 1 – called Always Afternoon by Gwen Kelly. The history is fascinating –

    1. says: Seana Smith

      Sounds interesting, the exhibition at the Gaol about the period of internment was excellent, in fact all their displays were. Love a bit of gritty history in a location.

  2. says: Tony Mayne

    Hi Seana,
    I know I live here and have been guilty of taking the “The Rocks” for granted on occasions, although those amazing an early morning beach walks along Trail Bay or the watching another sunset soon has me feeling how lucky we are to live in such a beautifully unique place.
    Hope you come back soon to let your shoulders drop and to walk a little slower.
    Again, it was a pleasure having you all here.

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